By Matthew Rothschild on December 18, 2012

President Obama is bending over way too far to reach a budget deal with John Boehner and the Republicans.

By tentatively agreeing to changing the formula for calculating the Consumer Price Index for people on Social Security, Obama has, in fact, agreed to cut the benefits of seniors.

Because the new CPI index doesn’t go up as fast as the traditional measure.

As a result, every year, seniors will receive less than they otherwise would have from Social Security.

And it’s not like they’re getting rich on Social Security as it is. The average monthly check is $1,230 – that’s less than fifteen grand a year.

And now grandma and grandpa aren’t even going to be keeping up with the rate of inflation as traditionally calculated.

Forcing seniors to make do with less on Social Security is not something Obama campaigned on, and it’s not something we need Democrats for.

But there were plenty of warnings.

Obama’s first appointee to head the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, was in favor of this proposal.

And Obama appointed the Bowles-Simpson Commission, which lent momentum to this idea of cutting Social Security.

And Obama floated this idea of the new and reduced Consumer Price Index last summer when he tried then to get Boehner to sign on to the “grand bargain.”

Bernie Sanders warned us all during the campaign that Obama was wobbly on this issue, and worried about the President’s willingness to cave on the Consumer Price Index.

Sanders told Sam Stein of HuffingtonPost back in September that Obama was likely to throw seniors overboard with the so-called “chained CPI.”

And that’s where we are today.

It’s not like Boehner had to beat Obama into the ground on this. The President, it seems, was always prepared to give it away.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Obama Hits Right Notes in Response to Conn. Horror."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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